Intersecting Minds: Education, Business and Technology at the North Carolina State Jenkins Graduate School of Management

File This Under Headlines You Don’t Want for Your Company: | October 15, 2009

Update On Microsoft/Sidekick Debacle: “Most, If Not All” Data Will Get Recovered

Ouch. If you’re Steve Ballmer, that’s not exactly what you want beamed out to thousands of tech-heads. While this is only one data point, it’s symptomatic of why Microsoft continues to lose both hardware market share to Apple, and online share to Google. It wasn’t that long ago that Microsoft was looked to as the pinnacle of the technology industry, but the company has fallen on harder times (by Microsoft standards, anyways).

The perception of Microsoft as a monopolistic-seeking soulless entity has stuck with the company through its antitrust suits. The brilliant ad campaign run by Apple through the mid-2000’s cemented an image of PC’s, and by implication, Microsoft, as out of touch, unreliable and generally not cool. Remember these:

Attending school at CBS for the last two months, I’ve noticed just how popular Apple is with the student crowd. I’d estimate that 50-60% of students here own Macs, despite their higher price. And they aren’t the only ones. Apple once again announced an increase in personal computer market share to nearly 10%. While that doesn’t sound like much, it’s important to keep in mind Apple’s vastly superior profit margins, as well as the billions it rakes in from iTunes, iPod and iPhone sales. Apple has become a giant.

Of course the irony of all this is that while Apple is viewed as a high-quality, “cool” producer, they are actually just as ruthless and controlling a corporation as Microsoft ever was.

All this and I still haven’t touched on the war Microsoft has on its hands with Google. I’m less familiar with the battle over search engine prowess and domination of the online world, but I do know Google has the upper-hand there too. From Alexa’s rankings, Google.com and its variants (Google.in, google.fr etc) are the most trafficked site on the internet. Google is visited by 40%+ of daily internet users, while Microsoft’s Live (#5) brings in around 15-17%. Of course Google also owns YouTube who is #4 in the rankings.

Needless to say, Microsoft has its work cut out for it. And losing the personal data of hundreds of thousands of customers definitely isn’t the way to kick that off.

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